President Pranab Mukherjee today hailed the indigenization efforts of India’s nuclear programme, saying that home trained scientists and technocrats have helped promote self reliance.
Speaking at the 56th Graduation Function of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Anushaktinagar, Mumbai Mr. Mukherjee said nuclear energy is critical for addressing the energy needs of the country.
He said, that even though India produces 2.29 lakh Mega Watts of energy, the share of nuclear energy is still only 2%, which needs to grow.
He further added that the country is facing energy shortage of over 8 % and said “to beat the shortage, we need to tap all clean energy sources. The alternative sources of clean energy have their own limitations, while we have developed necessary technology for the nuclear energy”.
Mr Mukherjee called Bhabha Atomic Research Centre as the hub of nuclear research. “It was the vision of former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, which was translated into reality by another visionary leader and institution builder Dr. Homi Bhabha.” He said, BARC along with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, has contributed greatly towards building a reservoir of experts.
President called upon the scientist community to reach out to public to allay fears and common misconceptions about nuclear energy
President Mukherjee said the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement of 2008 has helped India overcome the nuclear isolation it was subjected to for nearly three and a half decades.
Mr. Mukherjee also said that application of nuclear science to other fields like – nuclear medicine and nuclear agriculture are still not known to common people. He complimented BARC for developing 41 varieties of seeds of pulses and oil seeds under its nuclear agriculture programme.
The President unveiled the TAG 24 groundnut seed developed by BARC, which promises five times greater yield than the conventional seeds used in agriculture.
On this occasion President Mukherjee also remotely inaugurated five new facilities of BARC :
· The Facility for Proving Advanced Reactor Thermal Hydraulics at Tarapur to promote nuclear safety,
· Waste Immobilization Plant at Kalpakkam for handling liquid nuclear waste,
· Actinide Separation Demonstration Facility at Tarapur for reducing nuclear waste
· Experimental Accelerator Driven Sub-critical Facility at BARC, Mumbai which can provide another possible route to utilize abundant thorium reserves
· DC Electron Accelerator at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai for pollution control applications
President Mukherjee also felicitated the 13 meritorious students who have won the Homi Bhabha Prize for 2012-13 for academic excellence. 119 trainees completed their One Year Orientation Course for Engineering Graduates and Science Post Graduates and 15 trainees selected from IITs and BHU, completed the Department of Atomic Energy Fellowship Scheme.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan were also present at the Graduation Function.